Sunday, August 09, 2009

Obama and the Democrats are upset about community organizing.

Who would have thought it?

This has always been a problem for Obama and is actually reflects a longstanding tension in the American progessivism. Recall Woodrow Wilson's claim that the Constitution, with its separation of powers and checks and balances on government action was outdated and that progressives must insist that it be interpreted "according to Darwinian principle" so that the organs of government be permitted "quick cooperation ... [and]ready response to the commands of instinct or intelligence ...." Those instincts and that intelligence were to be of the expert class. In response to the New Deal, Walter Lippman, who contributed to the very attitude that he later came to question, wrote that: who call themselves communists, socialists, fascists, nationalists, progressives and even liberals, are unanimous in holding that government with its instruments of coercion must by commanding the people how they should live, direct the course of civilization and fix the shape of things to come ... [T]he premises of authoritarian collectivism have become the working beliefs, the self-evident assumptions, the unquestioned axioms, not only of the revolutionary regimes. but of nearly every effort which lays claim to being enlightened, humane and progressive."

The Democrats' reaction to the quite understandable criticism of the Obama healthcare has had a petulant and wounded ring. How can you be so ungrateful? Pelosi calls protesters "Unamerican" and critics "almost immoral." Obama wants critics to "stop talking." The White House wants "fishy" comments on ObamaCare reported to a White House website. No, I don't think that the administration is planning an auto-de-fe against health care critics("it's what you oughtn't to do, but you do anyway"), but there is something offputting about all of this.

Shut up and let us help you! Not a theme calculated to endear or persuade.

The current way of delivering health care is said to be ruining the nation. The problem with that as a claim is that it provides an overwhelming majority of people with what they want. Yes, we would like it to be cheaper and there is a fair amount of health care anxiety. We certainly have an accessibility problem, but one that is not as grave as it is claimed to be. Insurance companies can behave badly, but the vilification of insurance companies is an old trial lawyers trick. No one likes to be told "no" and insurance companies necessarily "adjust" claims. In any event, insurance, in the traditional sense, is increasingly a smaller part of the current system. And a government payer will "adjust" claims too. It will have to. You pay for specified coverage not for anything and everything you want.

But the larger problem here is that Obama has run into Americans stubborn refusal to believe that the chattering classes know what's best for them or that government provision of goods and service don't provide problems of their own. He has exacerbated those perceptions with an incredibly expensive and failed stimulus plan that was a text book proof of what public choice theory tells us about the hijacking of government programs. He took over a couple of car companies and gave huge chunks of them to the unions that were large causes of their economic woes. He proposed - and pushed through - an economically strangling cap and trade bill that no one could have even read before passage.

He could have an insurance exchange tomorrow but he stubbornly insists on a public option that has been demonstrated to be quite problematic. Drop the public option and he has a bill. Keep it and I'm not sure he does. His Nibs has big plans for you and he is not happy with your skepticism.


illusory tenant said...

Pelosi calls protesters "Unamerican"

No, she doesn't. You're simply repeating the wildly misleading Fox News headline. Pelosi wrote, "Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American." That is, the act, not the actor.

Perhaps your problem is with her premise.

If it's not the case that anybody is in fact "drowning out opposing views," then there shouldn't be any problem with Pelosi's opinion of the legislative process.

Terrence Berres said...

If "Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American", wouldn't that apply to an effort to flood a radio call-in show with talking points?

Maxamegalon2000 said...

If I'm not mistaken, when you talk about Obama wanting critics to "stop talking," you probably mean this quote:

“I don't want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking. I want them to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess.”

First, he says he merely doesn't want them "to do a lot of talking," and that makes sense. While "the folks who created the mess" surely should have some input, the fact that their input created the problem should make one hesitant to rely on them too much.

Second, he didn't say anything about critics. If, in fact, the only people criticizing are "the folks who created the mess," then what does that tell you?

Anonymous said...

I guess civility and decency aren't in your vocabulary. Obama and the Democrats are far from being upset about the community organizing--they are upset (and a lot of other folks are too) at the behavior of some of these so-called adults who get all their news from the likes of Beck, O'Reilly, and Limbaugh.

Anonymous said...

Town hall meetings usually not well attended are now astounding. Are we seeing a great awakening in America or will it diminish during football season?

I am afraid people will not persevere to preserve our freedoms and that the Globalist will continue to enslave us with there, programs like “Sustainable Development”. How much of a leap would it be to go from taking over healthcare to taking over all private property? Following is a short exert from an expert trying to warn America of what is happening right under our noses.

"I have been traveling the nation over the past few months sounding the alarm that we cannot win this battle to restore our Republic if we don't understand that what we face is not a bunch of random issues – but a complete agenda of control – Sustainable Development. (Read my Spokane speech here Part1, Part2) Cap N Trade, global warming, population control, gun control, open borders and illegal immigration, higher taxes, higher gas prices, refusal to drill American oil, education restructuring, international IDs, natural health supplement control, food control, farming "reform," control of private property, NAIS and UN Global Governance are all part of the Sustainable Development/Agenda 21 blueprint.

To that end, I am focusing this entire issue on Sustainable Development to give activists all the ammunition they need to fight back. I am also including a list of more than 500 cities that are currently enacting Sustainable Development policies. If this is happening in your town (and it is), I urge you to challenge your local city council and mayor to stop these polices. The battles now must be fought on the local level. Remove Sustainable Development from every community and policies out of the federal government will be neutralized. And only then can we be on our way to restoring the American Republic. -------- Tom DeWeese"

I think people will be surprised to find that Madison, Milwaukee, Racine, Oshkosh and others are already engaged in this UN plan.

Rick Esenberg said...

Well, yes, she does. She says they are "drowning out opposing views" and that is "Unamerican." But the idea that people at town hall meeting are "drowning out" the views held by the supposedly overwhelmingly popular and groundbreaking President of the United States and his overwhelming Congressional majorities supported by most of the mainstream media is laughable. You credit contested reports on the tenor of these meetings and assume that this characterizes the opposition because it fits your ideological predelictions. To some extent, we all do that. But if these were antiwar protesters or people calling for action against the mendacious insurance companies, I have no doubt that the talking point would be that it is a grassroots movement of righteous indignation.

As far as your meticulous distinction between condemning the act and not the actor, keep it mind the next time you want to abuse Ms. Appling.

Rick Esenberg said...


Putting aside whether it is a "mess" and who caused it, it is tone deaf for the President to think he ought to get up and decide who he "wants" to do a lot of talking.

Anon 9:55

No actually I am all about civility. But this isn't about that. It's about marginalizing those "fishy" ideas about ObamaCare.

John Foust said...

Go ahead, Rick, don't dance around. Tell us how you think people should behave in a public forum, without regard for whether they're anti-war protesters or today's health-care shouters. Give us a 500 word polemic about today's sad lack of civil discourse. Tell us that it's uncivil to continuously shout down the elected official who's trying to talk to the public.

Or tell us it's Obama's fault that Kagen couldn't get two words out.

illusory tenant said...

If "Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American", wouldn't that apply to an effort to flood a radio call-in show with talking points?

If that is "drowning out opposing views," then yeah, I suppose so.

But you'd have to ask Nancy Pelosi. I don't necessarily agree with her that any of the anything that's going down at the town hall meetings is "un-American," including the alleged beatdowns of (uninsured) dissenters by "union thugs."

As a matter of fact, I'm not sure I even know what it means to be "un-American."

Presumably the unfettered exchange of ideas is "American" and deliberately trying to suppress them is "un-American." That's my best guess.

The point is, Pelosi didn't call the protesters "un-American," she said some of their methods were.

It was Fox News and Prof. Esenberg who said, "Pelosi calls protesters un-American."

Terrence Berres said...

"If that is 'drowning out opposing views,' then yeah, I suppose so."

Just checking.

illusory tenant said...

Yes. And by the same token, where is the Sykesian condemnation for the "speech thugs" that are descending on the town halls? The Allen Edmonds loafer is on the other foot these days, I expect.

Terrence Berres said...

You're saying you're inconsistent in how you call Mr. Sykes' inconsistent?

On the other foot, via Glenn Reynolds, GOP boards up the 'town hall', USA Today, March 16, 2005. "[Senator] Santorum was among dozens of members of Congress who ran gantlets of demonstrators and shouted over hecklers at Social Security events last month. Many who showed up to protest were alerted by e-mails and bused in by anti-Bush organizations such as and USAction, a liberal advocacy group. They came with prepared questions and instructions on how to confront lawmakers."

John Foust said...

Come on, TB, tell us how people should behave in civil society. You think it's polite to shout them down?

illusory tenant said...

You're saying you're inconsistent in how you call Mr. Sykes' inconsistent?

Um, no. I guess what I'm saying is that one man's "speech thug" is that same man's "patriotic American" depending on whether the latter are inclined to give the benefit of the doubt, or be irrationally hostile, to Barack Obama.

This is good, though, from your link:

"[House Republican Conference Chairwoman Deborah] Pryce denies that her party's members would limit participants or audiences to supporters, as the Bush administration has done during its current 60-day Social Security tour."

Anonymous said...

Where's the gay marriage connection in all of this?

Anonymous said...

The current system provides "an overwhelming majority of Americans with what they want"? Over 50 million Americans lack health insurance, in this, the wealthiest nation on earth. Thousands of Americans die every year because they lack health insurance. (No, coverage at the ER does not amount to universal health care.) Every other advanced democracy has universal health care. Those of us who have health insurance are not always happy with the claims denials, ever-increasing premiums, administrative runarounds, and other hassles of the current system. Yes, a majority of Americans have health insurance, and most of the time it pays our medical bills. That's not good enough.

William Tyroler said...

I'm sensing a newfound sensitivity to the virtues of civil discourse. Maybe it'll extend to leftists in the academy, but I'm not holding my breath.

Anonymous said...

Mexamegalon on Obama:“I don't want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking. I want them to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess.”

First, he says he merely doesn't want them "to do a lot of talking," and that makes sense. While "the folks who created the mess" surely should have some input, the fact that their input created the problem should make one hesitant to rely on them too much.

So, if I believe that Government regulation is a chief cause of our mess, Obama is telling himself to not do a lot of talking, right? Sounds good to me, but he does not seem to be following his advice...

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